It has been over a year since Microsoft announced support for Windows XP & Small Business Server (SBS) 2003 will come to an end on April 8th 2014. Detailing the implications of this, Microsoft have widely publicised they will no longer provide security updates or technical support for the Windows XP and SBS 2003 operating systems.

With this news, a recent statistic suggesting that businesses are ignoring the need to maintain and improve systems with a survey that 58% of UK businesses are running a 2003 or below version of Microsoft Exchange server makes stern reading.*

Microsoft’s Stephen L Rose commented, ‘On April 8, 2014 security patches and hotfixes for all versions of Windows XP will no longer be available. So bottom line, PC’s running Windows XP will be vulnerable to security threats. Furthermore, many third party software providers are not planning to extend support for their applications running on Windows XP, which translates to even more complexity, security risks, and ultimately, adding management costs for IT departments if Windows XP is still in use.’

To mitigate risk, there are different options available to businesses which might provide an opportunity to re-evaluate IT systems. Businesses using XP and/or SBS 2003 need to consider the possibility of upgrading existing systems or purchasing news systems. For many businesses this will require a significant investment, which may provide an opportunity for cloud computing which can offer high levels of security alongside accessibility and resilience.

David Bullock at Xperience Group commented, ‘A change in operating system should be part of a well thought out strategy. Businesses need to balance the risks of continuing to use Windows XP and SBS 2003 with associated security risks or plan to migrate to a modern platform such as Windows 7 or Windows 8. At Xperience we would urge businesses to protect their interests with a migration plan.’

With little time left before Windows XP/SBS 2003 EOL, businesses need to address this issue and look to upgrade to more modern operating systems. For more information on the affects of XP and SBS 2003 End of Life poilicy contact Xperience Group on 0800 652 2423 or email enquiries@xperience-group.com.

*Business First – Volume 8, Issue 4, September 2012

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